What is a root canal?
If you have an infected tooth, cracked tooth or tooth pain, you may require a root canal procedure. Houston dentist, Dr. Bimal Mehta, performs root canal procedures in our office with the aid of sedation dentistry.
Technically, the root canal is the area inside of the tooth that contains the tooth pulp including nerves and other sensitive tissue. More generally, a root canal is used to refer to a root canal procedure where the tooth is treated for disease or decay.
Root Canal Symptoms
While you may not experience any root canal symptoms, many people often experience the following symptoms which can indicate the need for a root canal procedure:
- Severe toothache or tooth pain, particularly when chewing or biting
- Prolonged tooth sensitivity, especially to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Discoloration of the tooth (darkening)
- Soreness or tenderness to the gums surrounding the affected tooth
About the Root Canal Procedure
The goal of the endodontist in root canal therapy is to remove all infected tissue from the inside of the tooth and then fill the tooth to prevent further infection.
What is an endodontist?
The term endodontics comes from the Greek endo, meaning inside, and odors, meaning tooth. Endodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. An endodontist is someone who performs a variety of procedures including root canal therapy.
The endodontist will drill a small hole into the tooth, allowing access to the tooth pulp. The infected tissue and damaged nerve will be removed and the root canal will be thoroughly cleaned and polished. If there is infection, antibiotics may be prescribed and the tooth will be temporarily sealed until the infection has healed.
Once the infection is clear and the root canal is free of debris, it will be filled with a biocompatible rubber compound called gutta percha. The tooth will then be covered either a dental filling or dental crown to add strength and protect it from future damage.
Root Canal FAQs
Does a root canal hurt?
If you suspect you need a root canal, you may be worried about root canal pain and recovery. The pain that you feel, actually comes from the infection itself. The root canal procedure will provide relief from that pain and start the healing process. A root canal procedure feels similar to having a dental filling placed. Dr. Mehta offers sedation dentistry options to patients to help them be more relaxed during their treatment.
What if I don’t have the root canal treatment?
A tooth extraction is the alternative to root canal treatment. When considering a root canal vs. extraction, it is important to remember that once a tooth is lost, the replacement options become more difficult and complicated. Dr. Mehta generally supports the choice to conserve the natural tooth. During your consultation and examination, he will help you to make the best choice for your long term health and happiness.
What does a root canal cost?
The cost of root canal procedures depends on your specific circumstances. We accept most dental insurance and can submit claims on your behalf. We also offer flexible payment options to help you cover the root canal cost.